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Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests – Reel #10 with a new soundtrack created and performed by Leif

US 1964-66, Dir Andy Warhol, 16mm presentation, 40 min approx.

Silent Film and Live Music

Thu 27 Feb 2020 7pm, Cinema 1

Barbican Cinema, as part of its regular Silent Film & Live Music series, is delighted to present a selection of Andy Warhols Screen Tests; the series of short, silent black-and-white film portraits made by Warhol at the Factory between 1964-66.

Reel #10, which includes Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick, poet John Ashbery and filmmakers Jonas Mekas and Paul Morrissey will be screened, accompanied by a new soundtrack created and performed by Leif

The Screen Tests were conceptualised as cinematic versions of mug shots, ID photos or photo booth photos. The sitters were filmed in a small space against the wall where a tripod-mounted 16mm Bolex camera, lights and a chair had been set up. Well-lit and centred in the frame against a plain background, each sitter was asked to face forward and hold as still as possible, refrain from talking or smiling, and to try not to blink.

They were asked to sit for three minutes – much longer than the exposure time of a photo. The sitters’ responses to this ‘ordeal’, and their decisions about how to ‘perform’ themselves for the camera, make these films hugely revealing, as well as riveting viewing. Some subjects are reduced to weeping; some are overcome with self-consciousness; some others meet the gaze of the camera with an equal force of personality. When the films are projected, as Warhol prescribed, at silent projection speed, three minutes are drawn out to four, and these behaviours are exaggerated – each involuntary tremor or flutter of an eyelid is revealed in clinical slow motion.

The people who sat for the Screen Tests – poets, artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, dancers, models, celebrities and hangers-on – were part of the New York downtown arts scene during a watershed period. Collectively then, the Screen Tests can be read as a group portrait of this scene, as well as an oblique portrait of Warhol himself, delineating his network of connections and associations, his range of interests.

Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests – Reel #10 is part of Inside Out, a year-long Barbican cross arts season exploring the relationship between our inner lives and creativity.

Leif is a UK-based DJ and producer, author of over 20 EPs and three acclaimed albums, most recently appearing on labels such as Whities, Livity Sound and Idle Hands. With Joe Ellis, he also runs the label UntilMyHeartStops. His music draws on myriad elements from the spaciousness of dub to the rhythmic flair of broken beat and garage, polyrhythmic melodic patterns passed down from the pioneering minimal composers, ambient atmospherics and the more forthright structures and propulsion of house and techno.

As a DJ, Leif performs worldwide, with repeat appearances at venues such as Panorama Bar, De School, Concrete, Fabric and many more.

This inaugural solo live performance will see Leif explore the more ambient / experimental side of his sound, expanding on musical themes hinted at in his latest album, 2019’s Loom Dream (Whities).